Jeff Bezos’ shocking allegations that the National Enquirer tried to extort and blackmail him could have potentially significant ramifications for the tabloid’s publisher, American Media Inc.
The Amazon CEO, who doubles as the owner of The Washington Post, published a blog post on Thursday evening in which he alleged the National Enquirer threatened to release nude photos of Bezos, including a “below-the-belt selfie” if he did not publicly acknowledge that AMI’s coverage was not politically motivated (the National Enquirer has long been accused of acting as a proxy for Donald Trump).
The blog -- title: “No thank you, Mr. Pecker” -- went after David Pecker, the CEO of the media company.
Under a Sept. 20 agreement with federal prosecutors in New York, however, AMI was supposed to refrain from all illegal activity for a three-year period, according to Bloomberg. If the media company committed any crimes, it could be prosecuted for the ones it was granted immunity against, including perjury and obstruction of justice.
In New York, blackmail and extortion are both a felony and punishable by time in state prison. The emails from AMI that Bezos posted online purport to release personal images if he did not “cease and desist such defamatory conduct immediately.”
American Media Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.
The New York-based company previously admitted it worked with the Trump campaign to kill stories about the “presidential candidate’s relationship with women.”